Murgh makhani with pheasant

Submitted - Ben
Views - 545
Serves - 8


4 pheasants, jointed

For the tikka marinade:
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp thick yoghurt
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 golf ball-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
2-4 green chillies (depending on size and heat), finely chopped

For the tomato sauce:
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 small nugget fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1-3 small green chillies, depending on heat, finely chopped
5 cloves
1 tsp salt
175ml water

To finish:
125g butter
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp tomato purée
4 tsp honey
170ml double cream
1 tbsp fenugreek
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)


In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients, add the pheasant joints, turn over with your hands to ensure they're well coated, and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a large pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until nicely thickened. Rub through a sieve and set to one side.

Heat the oven to 230C/450F/gas mark 8. Transfer the pheasant legs to a roasting tin, along with some of the marinade, cover with a piece of buttered foil and roast for 15 minutes. Add the breasts to the tin, give everything a good stir, lower the heat to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and cook for 20 minutes.

To complete the sauce, melt the butter in a large pan, add the ground cumin and sizzle gently for a minute. Add the tomato sauce, bring back to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Add the tomato purée, honey, cream, fenugreek, lime juice and black pepper, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until the sauce is thick, rich and creamy. Finally, add the pheasant, mix well and warm through, simmering gently for five minutes. Serve with basmati rice and scatter with coriander leaves, if using.


This may seem a long list of ingredients, but they're all quite readily available. This deliciously warming dish is well worth the small amount of trouble needed to make it. The pheasants' legs are roasted for longer than the breasts to ensure that the breasts don't overcook and dry out. The tikka marinade also works very well with chicken or lamb. Serves eight, though this recipe doubles or triples up wonderfully.